The flowers are a bit fuzzy — dancing in the wind. They open in 15 minutes, beginning just when the sun hits them. The time it takes to sit on the porch and drink one cup of coffee.

Now, I wonder how they know just when the sun is hitting them? And for that matter, how do they know how to open?

They must be alive, of course. Living things “know” how to interact with their environment, and both the knowledge and the interactions are encoded in the genes.

It’s a little easier to imagine knowledge. The genes are of course a code, and a code is knowledge.

The ability to respond to environment is mostly a result of protein functions. Maybe some protein(s) in some cell in the plant (I haven’t studied this plant, I’m speaking theoretically) changes just a bit when the sunlight hits the protein. Sunlight is energy, you know that, and the energy of the sun can change proteins, we know that. It’s how we see. So let’s imagine this protein in the plant changes. Well, it’s sitting next to another protein and there is a whole series of reactions that finally end up telling the flower to open. It stays open until the energy goes away (I have watched this) and then it closes down just as quickly.

So what does that have to do with genes? Genes carry the genetic code and most of the genetic code is for making proteins. The genes just sit there in the middle of your cell, keeping the code safe. When it’s time for a protein to be made — the gene coughs up the code and the protein gets made.

But, then, how does the gene know when to make the protein? Mostly that happens because of the actions of OTHER proteins. It’s a big cycle through all of the whole life of the plant, and then its seeds, and then the new baby plants. That’s why life comes only from life. There is no end to the cycle, but there is also no beginning.
And for the members of the Bare Bones Ecology short course, you know I have been looking, actually for months, trying to find my movies, and last week I finally reordered.
You guessed it. Last week I lost my travel hard drive and yesterday I got really serious about cleaning out the car, looking for the hard drive, and I found the movies.

The hard drive was way in the bottom of my backpack.